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1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs, Volume I: Abensberg, John H. Gill


1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs, Volume I: Abensberg, John H. Gill

1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs, Volume I: Abensberg, John H. Gill

The Franco-Austrian War of 1809 (the main part of the War of the Fifth Coalition) was Napoleon's last victorious war, and thus one of the most significant in European history, marking the end of the era of Napoleonic supremacy. The war contains examples of Napoleon's great military skill, as well as his first real defeat and the first sign of a decline in his abilities.

This first volume in Gill's monumental three-part study of the war looks at the build-up to war, the Austrian invasion of Bavaria and the series of victories won by Napoleon that ended that invasion and allowed the French to occupy Vienna and move the theatre of conflict into the heart of the Austrian Empire.

Gill starts with an excellent account of the build-up to the war - a rare example of a war that was genuinely forced on Napoleon. As a result the first part of the book focuses very much on the Austrian point of view, look at the motives behind their declaration of war, and the disagreements within the Austrian ruling elite in the period before the conflict. Perhaps the most significant feature of this period is that Archduke Charles, the commander-in-chief of the Austrian army, was opposed to the war until very late in the day, and even when he came to believe that the war was inevitable was never that confident that Austria could actually win.

One of the most valuable aspects of a work on this scale is that it gives the author the space to compare the real situation on the ground with what was known to Charles and Napoleon when they issued their orders, casting an illuminating light on the reasons behind some of both men's more inexplicable decisions. Here the difference in the professionalism of the two armies comes very much to the fore, with the Austrians often operating without any real idea of where the French were, or where they might be going. The French also made mistakes, but were much quicker at correcting them.

The sheer scale of the research that has gone into this book becomes clear when you look at the notes section, which stretches from page 368 to page 485! Gill has used a wide range of Austrian and French sources for his examination of the main conflict, as well as Russian, Prussian and British sources in the sections on the diplomatic background to the war. The result is one of the best narrative histories that I have ever read, and one that will surely become the standard work on the War of 1809.

Chapters
1 - War in Unavoidable
2 - What do they Intend?
3 - Austrian Would Not Be So Foolish
4 - It is War
5 - Eight Days in April, I: The War Opens and the Tide Turns
6 - Eight Days in April, II: Four More Victories
Intermezzo

Table of Comparative Military Ranks

Appendices
1 - The Austrian Army, April 1809
2 - Orders of Battle for the April Campaign in Bavaria
3 - Orders of Battle for the Battle of Abensberg and the Pursuit to Landshut (20-21 April)
4 - Orders of Battle for the Battle of Eggmühl (22 April)

Author: John H. Hill
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 496
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2008



Stralsund, a port at the Baltic Sea in Swedish Pomerania, was surrendered to France after the siege of 1807 during the War of the Fourth Coalition. [3] During this war, Prussian captain Ferdinand von Schill distinguished himself by cutting off French supply lines using guerrilla tactics in 1806. In 1807, he raised a freikorps and successfully fought the French forces in what he intended to become a patriotic insurrection. When his corps was disbanded after the Peace of Tilsit on 9 July 1807, Schill was promoted to the rank of a major, decorated with the Pour le Mérite, and became a hero of German resistance and patriotic movements. [4]

In January and February 1809, the German resistance in French-held Westphalia invited Schill to lead an uprising. He agreed in April and drafted a proclamation which was intercepted by the French, and left Berlin on 27 April when he was threatened with arrest. [5] With a freikorps of 100 hussars, Schill headed southwest towards Westphalia to stir up an anti-French rebellion, but news of the French victory in the Battle of Ratisbon made him change his plans. Schill turned northwards to secure a port, [6] hoping for relief by the British navy. [7]

Schill entered Stralsund on 25 May with 2,000 men. [6] The freikorps was pursued by a French-led force of 6,000 Danes, Holsteiners, Dutch and French, who confronted Schill on 31 May inside of the town. [8] By then, Schill had 1,490 troops at his command inside Stralsund, including 300 Swedes from the Rügen landwehr, as well as a militia of 200 former Swedish soldiers, under Friedrich Gustav von Petersson. [1]


1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs Volume III: Wagram and Znaim

These subsidiary campaigns all set the stage for the clash that would decide the war: the titanic Battle of Wagram. Second only in scale to the three-day slaughter at Leipzig in 1813, Wagram saw more than 320,000 men and 900 guns locked in two days of fury that ended with Austrian retreat. The defeat, however, was not entirely complete and Napoleon had to force yet another major engagement on the Austrians before Charles would accept a ceasefire. This under-appreciated battle at Znaim introduced an extended armistice that finally ended with a peace treaty signed in Vienna in October.

Gill makes use of an impressive array of sources to present a lively account that covers the conflict from the diplomacy of emperors to the common soldiers suffering the privations of campaigning and the horrors of battle as they attempt to carry out their duties. Enriched with uncommon illustrations, more than 40 specially prepared maps, and extraordinary order of battle detail, this work concludes an unprecedented English language study of Napoleon's last victorious war. . more


Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs Volume III : Wagram and Znaim

With this third volume, John Gill brings to a close his magisterial study of the war between Napoleonic France and Habsburg Austria. The account begins with both armies recuperating on the banks of the Danube. As they rest, important action was taking place elsewhere: Eugene won a crucial victory over Johann on the anniversary of Marengo, Prince Poniatowski’s Poles outflanked another Austrian archduke along the Vistula, and Marmont drove an Austrian force out of Dalmatia to join Napoleon at Vienna. These campaigns set the stage for the titanic Battle of Wagram.

Second only in scale to the slaughter at Leipzig in 1813, Wagram saw more than 320,000 men and 900 guns locked in two days of fury that ended with an Austrian retreat. The defeat, however, was not complete: Napoleon had to force another engagement before Charles would accept a ceasefire. The battle of Znaim, its true importance often not acknowledged, brought an extended armistice that ended with a peace treaty signed in Vienna.

Gill uses an impressive array of sources in an engaging narrative covering both the politics of emperors and the privations and hardship common soldiers suffered in battle. Enriched with unique illustrations, forty maps, and extraordinary order-of-battle detail, this work concludes an unrivalled English-language study of Napoleon’s last victory.

“Sheds new light on well-known stages in the battle . . . he has covered more than just an epochal battle in a magnificent book that will satisfy the most avid enthusiasts of Napoleonic era military history.” —Foundation Napoleon


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John Gill has written a highly detailed, yet very readable, 3-volume series describing Napoleon's 1809 campaign against the Austrian Hapsburg army. His coverage is remarkable as he covers every major action and many minor skirmishes.

From the origins of the war, through Napoleon's brilliant maneuvers in Bavaria and the opening battles of Abensberg/Eggmuhl (all covered in Vol. 1), continuing to the bloody Battle of Aspern-Essling (Vol. 2) and culminating in the costly Battle of Wagram (Vol. 3), the series is unbelievably thorough and includes all subsidiary theaters of the 1809 war (Italy, Poland, etc.) as well.

While there are times when his review of the dispositions of various units can slow down one's reading, there are far more passages where he makes you feel the cold rain, the soldiers' sore feet, their occasional hunger and exhaustion, and the acts of bravery on both sides. The text is fluid and well-organized. He is very objective in his analysis of the leader's decisions (perhaps a shade forgiving of a few of Napoleon's more controversial moves, but perhaps rightly so).

In addition, the maps (often a weakpoint of military histories) are numerous, detailed and extremely helpful.

Despite the length of the series (nearly 1000 pages of text and several hundred pages more of appendicies), it is a monumental work and certainly a must for anyone interested in a comprehensive account of a Napoleonic campaign.


ISBN 13: 9781848327573

Gill, John H.

This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

The Franco-Austrian War of 1809 was Napoleon's last victorious war. Napoleon faced the Archduke Charles, the best of the Habsburg commanders, and a reformed Austrian Army that was arguably the best ever fielded by the Danubian Monarchy. The French ultimately triumphed but the margin of superiority was decreasing and all of Napoleon's skill and determination was required to achieve a victorious outcome.

Gill tackles the political background to the war, especially the motivations that prompted Austria to launch an offensive against France while Napoleon and many of his veterans were distracted in Spain. Though surprised by the timing of the Austrian attack on April 10th, the French Emperor completely reversed a dire strategic situation with stunning blows that he called his 'most brilliant and most skillful maneuvers'. Following a breathless pursuit down the Danube valley, Napoleon occupied the palaces of the Habsburgs for the second time in four years. The Austrians recovered, however, and Napoleon suffered his first unequivocal repulse at the Battle of Aspern-Essling on the shores of the Danube opposite Vienna.

He would win many battles in his future campaigns, but never again would one of Europe's great powers lie broken at his feet.

In this respect 1809 represents a high point of the First Empire as well as a watershed, for Napoleon's armies were declining in quality and he was beginning to display the corrosive flaws that contributed to his downfall five years later.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

John H. Gill (Jack), a military historian specializing in the Napoleonic era, is the author of With Eagles to Glory and the editor of A Soldier for Napoleon. He has contributed numerous papers to the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era and other academic forums. His latest work is 1809: Thunder on the Danube, just published in March 2008, which is to be the first of three volumes. An associate professor at the Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC, he has also published on military history and contemporary security issues relating to India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries. A retired US Army colonel, he lives in Virginia, USA with his wife, and their two teenage sons.

“. gives a detailed account of the decisions, movements, maneuvers, and individuals involved. does well on the military aspects of the story. I look forward to seeing the next two volumes.” (Air Power History)

“. moves fluently from the strategic, through the operational and into the tactical modes and back, providing a rich and enthralling narrative and analysis. ” (Military Illustrated)


1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon s Defeat of the Habsburg: Abensberg Copertina flessibile – 20 marzo 2014

I've long waited for a more affordable and accessible version of Mr. Gill's three volume history of the "War of the Fifth Coalition", 1809: Thunder on the Danube to appear. So in this, I am very pleased that Frontline books has produced Mr. Gill's magisterial three volume history into paperback form.

The first volume largely deals with the politics, perhaps, paranoia, of the Habsburg Court in fearing that Napoleon was going to invade and dismantle the ancient Austrian (more properly - Habsburg) Monarchy. The Court was filled with many aristocrats of the former Holy Roman Empire, born in the German states that were not directly ruled over by the Austrian Archduke (in this case, Franz I/II). Many of these expatriates, Philipp Graf von Stadion among them, created a strong and powerful cabal known as the Kriegspartei, "War Party," and clamored for war with French. Their vision was apocalyptic in nature, and overly optimistic. Believing that the Germans of the Rhine Confederacy would join the Habsburg cause, leading to the final showdown with Napoleon, ending with his defeat, and the whimsical dream of the restoration of the Holy Roman Empire.

At the same time, Austria's greatest commander of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era -- Archduke Charles, a younger brother of the Emperor Franz, was hardly favoring war. A hero of the Revolutionary Era, Charles had seen first hand the ability of Napoleon and the French Army. He instituted a sweeping series of reforms to bolster the Habsburg Army, including modeling it off of the French "Corps" System. Thus, when war finally began in April, Austria had a much more modern (but still cumbersome) army to fight the French.

Napoleon had gotten whim of the invasion, and rushed off to Bavaria (the principle theater of the first weeks of the war) to take control of his army. In a stunning blow, to which Napoleon fondly remembered these Ŝ Days" in April, he nearly crushed Archduke Charles who barely managed to slip away into Bohemia to fight another day. Leading to the rest of the war of 1809, which Mr. Gill covers in Volume II and Volume III of his work.

On a side note concerning the integrity of the paper back edition, the covering is somewhat lacking and easily frays after extensive handling. Of course, this is nothing a well-placed piece of tape can't fix, but handling them with a little more proper diligence is all that is necessary to prevent the covering from fraying off.


ISBN 13: 9781848325470

Gill, John H.

This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

With this third volume John Gill brings to a close his magisterial study of the war between Napoleonic France and Habsburg Austria. The account begins with both armies recuperating on the banks of the Danube. As they rest, important action was taking place elsewhere: Eugene won a crucial victory over Johann on the anniversary of Marengo, Prince Poniatowski’s Poles outflanked another Austrian archduke along the Vistula, and Marmont drove an Austrian force out of Dalmatia to join Napoleon at Vienna. These campaigns set the stage for the titanic Battle of Wagram.

Second only in scale to the slaughter at Leipzig in 1813, Wagram saw more than 320,000 men and 900 guns locked in two days of fury that ended with an Austrian retreat. The defeat, however, was not complete: Napoleon had to force another engagement before Charles would accept a ceasefire. The battle at Znaim, its true importance often not acknowledged, brought an extended armistice that ended with a peace treaty signed in Vienna.

Gill uses an impressive array of sources in an engaging narrative covering both the politics of emperors and the privations and hardship common soldiers suffered in battle. Enriched with unique illustrations, forty maps, and extraordinary order-of-battle detail, this work concludes an unrivalled English-language study of Napoleon’s last victory.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

John H. Gill (Jack), a military historian specializing in the Napoleonic era, is the author of With Eagles to Glory and the editor of A Soldier for Napoleon. He has contributed numerous papers to the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era and other academic forums. His latest work is 1809: Thunder on the Danube, just published in March 2008, which is to be the first of three volumes. An associate professor at the Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC, he has also published on military history and contemporary security issues relating to India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries. A retired US Army colonel, he lives in Virginia, USA with his wife, and their two teenage sons.

“. sheds new light on well-known stages in the battle. he has covered more than just an epochal battle in a magnificent book that will satisfy the most avid enthusiasts of Napoleonic era military history. (Foundation Napoleon)

“. very impressive piece of work and is unlikely to be surpassed. one of the best examples of traditional Military History you will find, and will be a value to an academic audience and of great interest to a more general audience. A very impressive achievement and a very valuable guide to Napoleon’s last victory.” (History of War)

“The text is well-written and entertaining, the maps are generally excellent, portraits of many of the commanders are provided, and there are extensive OOBs for Wagram and Znaim. This is an example of how history should be written. Highly recommended.” (The Miniatures Page)


1809 Thunder on the Danube. Volume 1: Napoleon S Defeat of the Habsburg

The Franco-Austrian War of 1809 was Napoleon s last victorious war. He would win many battles in his future campaigns, but never again would one of Europe s great powers lie broken at his feet. In this respect 1809 represents a high point of the First Empire yet at the same time Napoleon s armies were declining in quality and he was beginning to display the corrosive flaws that contributed to his downfall five years later. In this volume Gill tackles the political background to the war and the opening battles of Abensberg . Read More

The Franco-Austrian War of 1809 was Napoleon s last victorious war. He would win many battles in his future campaigns, but never again would one of Europe s great powers lie broken at his feet. In this respect 1809 represents a high point of the First Empire yet at the same time Napoleon s armies were declining in quality and he was beginning to display the corrosive flaws that contributed to his downfall five years later. In this volume Gill tackles the political background to the war and the opening battles of Abensberg, Eggmuhl and Regensberg. He explores the motivations that prompted Austria to launch an offensive against France while Napoleon and many of his veterans were distracted in Spain. Though surprised by the timing of the Austrian attack on the 10th April, the French Emperor completely reversed a dire strategic situation with stunning blows that he called his most brilliant and most skillful maneuvers . Following a breathless pursuit down the Danube valley, Napoleon occupied the palaces of the Habsburgs for the second time in four years. Basing his work on years of primary research and battlefield visits, Gill provides a thorough analysis replete with spectacular combat, diplomatic intrigue and the illustrious cast of characters that populated this extraordinary age. The concluding volumes will take the war to its conclusion, including Napoleon s first unequivocal repulse at the Battle of Espern-Essling, the titanic Battle of Wagram and the neglected struggle at Znaim that led to armistice." Read Less

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Watch the video: Napoleon Defeated: Aspern 1809 (January 2022).